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Filing A Formal Complaint of Sexual Harassment

Formal complaints for DA Civilians, former employees, or applicants seeking employment, and certain contract employees are handled through the EEO complaint process. Details of the complaint process for Civilian personnel filing a complaint are found in AR 690-600 (Equal Employment Opportunity Discrimination Complaints).

Details for military personnel filing a complaint are found in Army Regulation 600-20 (Army Command Policy) and follow the same procedures as an Equal Opportunity complaint.

Formal Military Complaint

The formal military complaint requires use of DA Form 7279 (Equal Opportunity Complaint Form), and claimants must swear to the accuracy of their allegations. The process contains specific timelines, and commands are required to include specific documentation. All formal sexual harassment complaints are reportable to higher headquarters.

  1. A formal complaint is one that a complainant files in writing and swears to the accuracy of the information. Formal complaints require specific actions, are subject to timelines, and require documentation of the actions taken.
  2. An individual files a formal complaint using a DA Form 7279 (Equal Opportunity Complaint Form).
  3. In Part I of DA Form 7279, the complainant will specify the alleged concern, provide the names of the parties involved and witnesses, describe the incident(s)/behavior(s), and indicate the date(s) of the occurrence(s). Complainant will be advised of the importance of describing the incident(s) in as much detail as possible to assist in the investigative process.
  4. The block entitled, “Requested Remedy" serves a variety of purposes for both the complainant and the command. The information in this block can vary in terms of the complainant’s expectations of the investigative process and his or her reasonableness and credibility. If expectations that are not likely to be met come to the surface, they should be dispelled by the receiving agency (during acceptance of the complaint) through an explanation of the process and the possible outcomes. If the complainant’s response is vindictive, vengeful or malicious, and seems extreme in light of the events or circumstances, this may be helpful to the commander or investigating officer in terms of motive and believability.
  5. Soldiers have 60 calendar days from the date of the alleged incident in which to file a formal complaint. This time limit is established to set reasonable parameters for the inquiry or investigation and resolution of complaints, to include ensuring the availability of witnesses, accurate recollection of events, and timely remedial action. If a complaint is received after 60 calendar days, the commander may conduct an investigation into the allegations or appoint an investigating officer according to paragraph 5. In deciding whether to conduct an investigation, the commander should consider the reason for the delay, the availability of witnesses, and whether a full and fair inquiry or investigation can be conducted.
  6. The complainant should file his or her complaint with the commander at the lowest echelon of command at which the complainant may be assured of receiving a thorough, expeditious and unbiased investigation of the allegations. Depending on the various aspects of the complaint and individuals involved, that lowest level commander may not be the immediate company or even battalion level commander of the complainant.

Formal Civilian Employee Complaints

The complainant must contact an EEO Counselor within 45 calendar days of an alleged discriminatory action.

The EEO Counselor will try to resolve the matter informally within 30 calendar days from the date of the initial interview with the complainant. Counseling may be extended up to 60 additional days, upon agreement of complainant and EEO Office, or if an established Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) procedure is utilized.

A complainant may file a written formal complaint with the EEO Office, servicing EEO Office or Agency Head within 15 calendar days after the final interview with the EEO counselor.

If the complaint is accepted by the EEO Officer, an investigator is assigned to collect all relevant information. If portions of the complaint are dismissed, the complainant will be provided, in writing, the reason(s) for dismissal and informed of his/her right to appeal the decision.

The DOD IRD (Investigations Resolutions Division - EEO Investigations and Resolutions) is required to complete the investigation within 180 days from the filing of the formal complaint, with a possible extension of 90 additional days, upon mutual agreement. After the investigation, the complainant may request a Final Army Decision or a hearing by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (The complainant may also request a hearing after 180 days has elapsed from the filing of the complaint, if the investigation has not been completed.)

If complainant requests a Final Army Decision, the DA Equal Employment Opportunity Compliance and Complaints Review Agency (EEOCCR) or the applicable DOD Agency Head issues the department's decision on the complaint. The decision is issued within 60 days.

If complainant requests a hearing by the EEOC, an EEOC Administrative Judge (AJ) conducts a hearing and submits his/her findings and conclusions within 180 days of the request. If the agency does not issue a final order within 40 days of receipt of the AJ's decision, the AJ's decision becomes the final action of the agency.

If the complainant is dissatisfied with the Final Army Decision, he/she may appeal to EEOC's Office of Federal Operations (OFO) or file a civil action in a U.S. District Court.

If the complainant is dissatisfied with OFO's decision, he/she may request reopening and reconsideration by EEOC or may file a civil action in a U.S. District Court.